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Successional dynamics of a regenerated forest in a plantation landscape in Southern India

  • Ashish N. Nerlekar (a1) (a2), Vignesh Kamath (a3), A. Saravanan (a1) and R. Ganesan (a1)
Abstract

We monitored native forest regeneration over 11 y in a eucalyptus plantation and compared it with the neighbouring primary forest. For the plantation forest, we hypothesized that species richness, density, basal area and densities of old-growth species would increase over time, and compared to the primary forest, plantation forest would have higher species richness and density, but lower densities of old-growth species. In 2016, we repeated the protocol of a study that sampled the plantation forest in 2005, with thirty 10 × 10-m plots and enumerating trees (≥10 cm diameter), saplings (>1 to <10 cm diameter) and seedlings (<1 cm diameter). In the plantation forest, for trees, the species richness, density of gap, bird-dispersed and mammal-dispersed species increased by 67%, 156%, 116% and 238% respectively; whereas for saplings, density of gap, bird-dispersed and small-seeded species declined by 45.2%, 51% and 18.2% respectively over time; and seedling densities did not change across functional groups. Stand basal area increased by 80.1% in the plantation forest. The primary forest had 446% greater density of closed-canopy trees compared with plantation forest. Contrary to our prediction, the plantation forest did not accumulate significant densities of old-growth species over time, probably due to demographic filters that prevent them from attaining maturity.

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References
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